A Celebration a Century in the Making

Wow, what a day!

Today marks our 100th year of operation.

On July 13, 1915, the first patient was admitted to Henry Ford Hospital, long before the hospital was “officially” ready to receive patients on Oct. 1, 1915.

Henry Ford Health System's first-ever float, which will make its debut in America's Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

Henry Ford Health System’s first-ever float, which will make its debut in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van.

As I wrote in a post on Doc in the D one year ago, several patients were admitted to the basement area of the unfinished hospital (today’s M-Unit) because of the great needs of patients in our city at that time.

Since then, Henry Ford Hospital, and subsequently Henry Ford Health System, has continuously worked to transform health care for our patients, most notably through the development of the Henry Ford Medical Group, and our significant role in medical education, research and innovation.

None of this would be possible, however, without our employees.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

Today marked the first of many employee events scheduled throughout Henry Ford Health System to celebrate our 100 year anniversary.

You are the lifeblood of this institution. Your commitment is truly the reason why so many of us have spent the entirety of our careers here, myself included.

Today we had the opportunity to celebrate and thank you – for your tireless work and unwavering dedication – at the first of many employee events to commemorate our 100 year anniversary scheduled through the end of August across Henry Ford Health System. Continue reading

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Clara Ford & The School of Nursing

This week we celebrate the role of nursing in health care and at Henry Ford Hospital.

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927

Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1927, courtesy of the Conrad R. Lam Archives.

In previous blog posts, I’ve described the creation of the Henry Ford Medical Group, an idea that Henry Ford moved forward as influenced by meeting with the Mayo brothers.

Many of Henry’s other ideas about health care and the medical practices needed to support Detroit during Henry Ford Hospital’s formative years were directly influenced by his wife, Clara.

Most importantly, Clara was the major advocate of developing excellence in nursing that continues to this day at Henry Ford.

Being a great believer in the caring nature of nursing and its pivotal role in the medical care provided to patients, Clara was the driving force in developing the Henry Ford School of Nursing and Hygiene on the hospital campus.

The school included two new buildings, both designed by renowned architect, Albert Kahn: the 300-room Clara Ford Nurses Home (today’s Clara Ford Pavilion) and the Education Building (now home to the Innovation Institute).

Clara also worked closely with a designer to ensure that both the private rooms and the common areas were outfitted with precision.

Most notably, the parlor of the Clara Ford Nurses Home was elegantly designed with ornate chandeliers.

To get a feel for how magnificent the parlor, take a look at the 1978 film, “The Betsy,” which was filmed, in part, on the first floor of Clara Ford Nurses Home. In addition, the Education Building featured classrooms, a pool, squash courts and a gymnasium with a stage for special events.

In 1925, the School enrolled its first class of 93 students. Two classes were admitted each year, one in January and the other in September. The class size was limited to 100 students.

Women came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to attend the prestigious 28-month program. Students accepted into the tuition-free school lived free-of-charge at the Clara Ford Nurses Home. Continue reading

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“Back to the Future” Part 3

In the final segment of our three-part vodcast series on the history of Henry Ford Hospital and Health System, HFHS CEO Nancy Schlichting and I discuss what’s ahead for Henry Ford and our goals for the future.

Undoubtedly, we believe our rich history will continue to inspire the future at Henry Ford – through cutting-edge medical innovations and collaborative partnerships, to our deep commitment to the city we’ve called home for 100 years, in good times and often challenging times.

Henry Ford stood with Detroit for 100 years and has proudly been a part of its resurrection – not only as a provider and beacon for what’s good about health care institutions, but also as a very strong economic engine to the city.

We certainly have a lot to look forward to as we look back on our incredible history in celebration of Henry Ford’s 100 Year Anniversary. Continue reading

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Dr. King Inspired Groundbreaking Work at Henry Ford

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person for yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year marks the 15th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at Henry Ford Hospital.

It’s become an important tradition for us each year to take time to honor and celebrate the life of Dr. King – his words, rhetoric and actions. It’s truly one of the greatest days that we have here on campus.

The Mosiac Singers with the Mosiac Youth Theatre of Detroit gave an amazing performance at the event.

The Mosiac Singers with the Mosiac Youth Theatre of Detroit gave an amazing performance at the event.

Dr. King inspired a nation and he influenced much of the groundbreaking work in racial relations and equality accomplished in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s at Henry Ford Hospital. 

Throughout our history there have been many employees who have made a “career out of humanity” at Henry Ford.

In honor of Dr. King’s legacy, I want to share with you some of the individuals and groups who hold a special place in our hospital’s history for moving ahead the cause of equality:

After completing high school in the 1950s, Dennis Archer moved to Detroit to find work to finance his college education. He wanted to become a school teacher.

While working to achieve his goal, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer held many jobs; one of which made history at Henry Ford Hospital.

He became the first African American to work in the medical records department at Henry Ford Hospital.

Before Dr. King arrived in Detroit in 1963 to give a version of his “I Have a Dream” speech and lead 25,000 people on a peaceful “Walk to Freedom,” the “Fordsmen” were working to create a more harmonious work environment at Henry Ford Hospital. Continue reading

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Bridging the Work-Life Balance in Midtown

We’ve all been here: You leave the hospital after a long day of work and think, “my day’s not even close to being over yet.”

You’re running on low energy and still have to stop to get an oil change, look into a new doggie daycare and set-up a birthday dinner for a friend – and don’t forget the gift!

Midtown Concierge Office at HFH

Monica Sanders and Laurie Walker are ready to help you in the Midtown Concierge office in the hospital.

With our very busy work and personal lives, we all could use an extra hand in getting things done each day.

Recognizing that our hospital employees need a healthy work-life balance to be able to deliver the best possible care to our patients and their families, we’ve been working on special program for a while to help make life a little easier.

We’ve partnered with Midtown Detroit, Inc. and Balance Concierge to create Midtown Concierge, a service that works with local Midtown and City of Detroit businesses to provide goods and services to Henry Ford Hospital campus employees, often at a discounted rate.

Through Balance Concierge, Midtown Concierge offers personal assistance to hospital employees for routine tasks that often seem overwhelming when combined with a busy work and personal life.

This new pilot program is an in-house concierge service available at no fee to HFH Campus employees; you only pay for the items or services requested.

For those who follow Doc in the D, the concept of Midtown Concierge might sound familiar. Continue reading

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Our Patients in 1915

This week marks the beginning of Henry Ford Hospital’s 100th year of operation.

A few weeks ago, I was given a bound log book documenting the first 50 patients who were admitted to Henry Ford Hospital.

We had always acknowledged Oct. 1, 1915 as the first day of patients being admitted to Henry Ford.

This date is true for the actual completed hospital beds in the private-room building of Henry Ford Hospital, which today we call the “M” building.

Medical record log for Henry Ford Hospital's first documented patient.

Medical record log for Henry Ford Hospital’s first documented patient.

















A few patients, however, were actually admitted before that date to the basement area of the hospital in open ward converted space — among them, our first documented patient, a stock handler with chronic back and leg pain and a morphine addiction, who was admitted on July 13, 1915.

The medical records are quite impressive.

The same cursive writing of Henry Ford Hospital that we use today is noted at the top of each page.

The handwriting is meticulous, and clearly not written by a physician with deplorable handwriting, such as myself. Continue reading

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Celebrating Our Nurses

The care and work done at a hospital is provided by a team of individuals, all of whom have an important, be it critical, role in our resultant services and outcomes.

Nurses Week 2014

Celebrating our nurses at Henry Ford Hospital.

But at the crossroads of all that is done in the hospital is a nurse.  Usually at the bedside, OR table, gurney, or examination table; the nurse is the linchpin of all that we do. 

All of the great work that I provided clinically and administratively could not have been done without the teamwork and collaboration of nursing. 

They’re a critical part of our health care team at Henry Ford, working long hours and providing expert care to our patients.

My partner in running this hospital, Ronnie Hall, is the same partner that I worked with to create one of the great intensive care units in our region; the Henry Ford Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit.  Ronnie’s clinical instincts and organization skills that she honed at the bedside are the same talents that have made her a great hospital operational leader.

“Thank you” never seems enough when it comes to showing our appreciation for our nurses. Continue reading

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313 Day: Love for Detroit

#313DLove: Working at Henry Ford Hospital

#313DLove: Working at Henry Ford Hospital

“313 Day” has become an unofficial holiday in Detroit, growing in popularity during the past couple of years for offering Detroiters the chance to show their love and support for the city on March 13 (3-13).

The day trends on social media – across Detroit and beyond – with photos and inspiring words sporting the hashtags #313Day and #313DLove.

It’s a welcome break from the snow and Polar Vortex temperatures; an opportunity to focus on the positive and celebrate our city.

#313DLove: Detroit Made

#313DLove: Detroit Made

Since Detroit’s been our home for nearly 100 years, we have plenty to celebrate.

This is a day where “313” has no qualifiers.

You know what they are:

  • 313 is great, but…
  • 313 is fine for certain things, but…
  • 313 is coming back, but …

No “buts” on March 13.  

On 313 Day, we hosted a photo booth at the hospital so our employees could take part in the fun, showing the true spirit of the city, our history and bright future. Continue reading

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Henry Ford Hospital Celebrates Dr. King

Each year at Henry Ford Hospital we take time to honor and celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

“50 Years on the Road to Freedom” by Words I Speak Entertainment at the HFH event.

Growing up in the 1960s, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound impact on me and so many others in our country.

His teachings during the civil rights movement approached the inequalities present throughout this country.

He was an incredible spokesman in dealing with the injustices of the war we were fighting in Southeast Asia that many of us didn’t understand, especially when we had so much to accomplish at home.

For those of us at that time who were looking to become health care professionals, his themes resonated and influenced the way in which we would approach and practice medicine, as well as policies.

The statement that Dr. King made at the 1966 convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights is worth repeating:

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health
care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

Continue reading

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A Launch of Epic Proportions

Thank you to all of you who, over the last few days, launched Epic at Henry Ford Hospital, Kingswood Hospital, Henry Ford Medical Group ambulatory surgical sites and free-standing HFMG emergency departments.

Epic launch in the Emergency Department.

Epic launch in the Emergency Department.

Thank you to our Henry Ford Hospital staff, as well as all of the superusers and other staff members from around Henry Ford Health System.

Thank you to the Epic crew and the support teams.

I hope you feel like you are official HFH’ers.


Almost 7,000 Henry Ford employees were trained to make this happen.

The preparation was clearly noticeable.

"Go Live" Nov. 9 at 3 a.m.

“Go Live” Nov. 9 at 3 a.m.

In the last few days prior to the launch, our team members looked a lot like athletes who had prepared for the event and were itching to start.

“Let’s just get this going” was a frequently heard comment.

“We are ready” was another.

The sense of calmness, the degree of problem solving, and the teaming of all involved could be seen throughout the halls of Henry Ford Hospital.

Somehow our staff seemed to be uplifted.

Throughout all the commotion, I continued to see the human touch in caring for our patients. Our staff seemed even more attentive to these needs despite the information technology demands. Continue reading

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